Spices Board has teamed up with the Jammu and Kashmir government to boost production and improve value addition of the signature Kashmiri spice saffron, board sources said. India is a leading producer of premium and finest quality saffron in the world and Kashmiri saffron has been a recipient of the Great Taste Award, the world’s most coveted award for artisan and specialty food producers. The Board and the state government are also going full throttle to secure GI registration for authentication of high quality saffron from Kashmir. “The Codex Committee on Spices and Culinary Herbs has initiated the development of Codex standard for saffron at its 3rd session held in Chennai in February 2017,” Spices Board chairman A Jayathilak said. The saffron trade would get a fillip by addressing the issue of post-harvest management, especially for drying and storage, in order to retain the colour, aroma and flavour of the spice, he said.
“Spices Board has always evinced keen interest in the promotion of saffron in both domestic and international markets, particularly in food, beverage, cosmaceutical, perfumeries and other segments to enhance the consumption through trade delegations, participation in international exhibitions and buyer-seller meets,” Jayathilak noted.
Jayathilak said that the Board is promoting the setting up of common mini-processing facilities and value addition units to improve the marketability of saffron in the saffron- growing areas by farmer groups. “We have recently supported a producer group in Pampore by providing Rs 15 lakh as grant-in-aid towards 75 % of the cost of machinery and equipment for setting up of mini-processing and value addition unit,” he said.
Observing that aggregation is a major challenge in saffron production and marketing, he said the formation of spices producers societies is being encouraged to boost aggregation of the produce, common processing, value addition, and direct marketing of the spice between growers and exporters, processors and institutional buyers. “Such a measure will help maintain the quality throughout the supply chain and ensure better price realisation for the growers by eliminating the middlemen from the supply chain,” he noted.